By on January 18, 2015


While there has been ample skepticism of the Elio Motors enterprise, I’ve personally been one of the more optimistic, or at least less skeptical voices concerning the project. All along, though, I’ve said that there were benchmarks that had to be met, like  progress on the IVL led Elio engine development program and the beginning of hiring in earnest for Elio’s facility in the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, LA, and that the time for skepticism would begin if and when those benchmarks weren’t met. Elio isn’t trying for a moonshot, just a 1,200 lb 55 horsepower reverse trike using mostly proven components, so whatever barriers to getting the enterprise off of the ground are mostly financial, not technological. Now, it seems that Elio will be missing one of those benchmarks, or at least moving the goalposts, as it scrambles to put together the almost quarter billion dollars Paul Elio says he needs to start production.

First the bad news. At the monthly public meeting held by Caddo Parrish commissioner Ken Epperson last Thursday, Paul Elio announced that the start of production is being pushed back to the beginning of 2016. The reason given is financing, or more properly a lack thereof. So far, Elio has raised about $65 million of the $240 million or so that it will need to start making the three wheeler. The company has started to sell off equipment in the Shreveport plant that Paul Elio purchased in a leveraged deal and it is hoping that the sale of the tooling and equipment from the recently renovated factory will help make up some of that shortfall. In an interview with The Truth About Cars, Paul Elio would not provide a dollar figure on what’s already been sold, other than to say that Comau, which is managing the equipment sale as well as providing production engineering services to Elio Motors, has already listed for sale millions of dollars worth of equipment.


While Paul Elio insisted to me that the company has a number of alternative routes to the $185 million it needs to raise but that Plan A is borrowing that sum from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. Elio said that the ATVM loan application is going as well as they can hope for it to go at this point of the process.

To the company’s credit, Elio was forthcoming and transparent about the current lack of financing. As a matter of fact, it was Paul Elio who volunteered to TTAC the information that they’d be delaying production, ahead of the public announcement, when I contacted him about the status of the development of Elio’s proprietary 3 cylinder engine.

IVL is in charge of developing the Elio triple, an updated version of the Suzuki motor from a Geo Metro that’s been used in the Elio prototype mules. Paul Elio told me that the prototype engine has been assembled, checked for clearances and possible interferences and then disassembled for inspection. Subsequently, the motor has been reassembled for compression testing and then hot testing on the dyno. It’s passed the compression test, but due to the delays that happen when you’re building a prototype, they missed their window for access to IVL’s engine dyno facility, so they have to wait until a time slot opens up.

For the time being, though they haven’t yet arranged financing for production, the company doesn’t appear to be in a precarious financial situation. Bills from IVL are being paid, as is the note on the loan Paul Elio took out to buy the GM plant’s equipment and tooling.

One potential problem is that Elio Motors will almost certainly miss a 2015 deadline to reserve the third of the factory’s floor space that it intends to sublease from the real estate investment firm that has leased it from the parish, which bought the plant from the RACER trust that is disposing of the assets from GM’s bankruptcy. Real estate developer Stu Lichter said that there is a possibility that Elio may lose its place in the facility. Elio isn’t the only company interested in the property, with a team from one possible tenant scheduled for a visit early next month.

“I’m really committed to doing everything I can to get this car into production,” Lichter told the Shreveport Times, “But, at the same time, we have a facility. We have investors that we have to be responsible to so I can only go so far.”

Discussions about the about to expire deadline are taking place and Lichter held out hope that an extension can be negotiated. I’m pretty sure that Lichter is one of Elio Motors’ private investors so I’m guessing that extension will indeed be negotiated. Still the announcement that production is delayed and the fact that Elio appears to be relying on government financing is making me more skeptical about whether the overall enterprise will succeed. As far as my journalistic ethics allow me, I’m rooting for Elio and would love to see their vehicle become a working man’s Morgan Three Wheeler, but with Elio pushing back production (and hiring) I’m less optimistic now than I was when I drove the P4 prototype last summer.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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72 Comments on “Elio Engine Development Proceeds but Trike’s Production Start Pushed Back to 2016...”

  • avatar

    Yeah, about this Elio, well it seems gas is about $1.90 a gallon, so we won’t be needing you after all, but we’ll keep your resume’ on file in case our needs change. Like when gas goes back to $4 a gallon

    • 0 avatar

      When I look at this goofy thing it screams all kinds of unsafe to me, can see people misjudging the outboard wheels and clipping all kinds of things, pedestrians included. A true death race competitor?

      • 0 avatar

        To me it looks safer than most of the other three-wheelers on the market, I see Can-Ams every so often and wonder why you’d ever drive one over a real motorcycle, both are just as safe but at least the bikes harder to hit.

        I personally don’t get it, if I wanted to buy a gas sipper I’d just get a battered $500 penalty box of a car, less trendy but it’ll save me more money.

      • 0 avatar

        The fenders are only a foot or less from the body.

        The driver can see them right outside the window, and far better than any driver in a four wheel car can see the passenger side wheel.

        If other drivers can’t see the fenders just a foot from the body, they aren’t even trying.

    • 0 avatar

      If they hold out until 2016 that is when the Saudis will start running out of money to subsidize their flood the market strategy to cripple fracking production.

      Interesting question my dad brought up when he learned the engine block will be aluminum, what happens when you hit a puddle, does it just crack open? Or will it have some sort of shield underneath or channels to direct potentially cold water away from the hot engine appropriately to prevent damage.

      I’m still rooting for them as well, and if they get the governmental financing, I don’t see any problem with them eventually selling enough of these to pay back the loan. How about requiring government employees to drive these instead of fleets of $70k SUVs. Unless the mayor can prove he needs to drive around with 4-5 passengers all day every day, you can buy 10 of these for the fleet instead of 1 loaded Tahoe or Escalade.

      The price of gas will jump back to $4 or better eventually, it’s mostly just a matter of timing and luck (and financing) if it will happen for the Elio. I don’t see Tesla’s Model X hitting real production numbers if ever, until 2016, and I don’t see the Model 3 scaling up until at least 2018 with all of Musk’s broken promises (especially on range and pricing) and constant delays.

      • 0 avatar

        I suspect that the majority of automotive engine bocks in production today are aluminum.

      • 0 avatar
        Zekele Ibo

        >> If they hold out until 2016 that is when the Saudis will start running out of money to subsidize their flood the market strategy

        Why would the Saudis run out of money? They’re still making a healthy profit at $40 the barrel.

        • 0 avatar

          A healthy profit and enough profit to prevent a general, violent uprising of your out of work populace are two different things. Unless you think a country where 70-80% (IIRC) employment is directly tied to oil production, now they might have to lay off 1/2 their employees because they have half the money coming in.

      • 0 avatar

        Manufacturers have been making aluminum block engines for decades with no such protective measures and no such cracking problems. Not sure why this would be any different.

      • 0 avatar

        I am rooting for Elio too, though I cannot figure out why they would go to the expense of developing an engine when there are so many options available. Developing a proprietary engine is one of the things that contributed to the demise of the Corbin Merlin. If you really want your own design in your car use an existing engine, get production going and when the design is finalized and tested for longevity, then put it into production.
        Anyone hoping to get a start-up off the ground should simply purchase the power plant and let the engine manufacturer be responsible for the emissions certification.

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        Your dad is decades behind the times. Millions upon millions of vehicles out on the road today, including every Honda ever built, have had aluminum engine blocks without issues from water splash from the roadway, and millions more vehicles in the form of every motorcycle built in more than half a century, have that engine block directly exposed to water splash. Non-issue.

  • avatar

    “become a working man’s Morgan Three Wheeler”

    Why would a working man want an ersatz Morgan Three Wheeler? For an even harsher commute and no room for groceries?

  • avatar

    Well there goes one of my 2015 predictions. :/

  • avatar

    It takes five years for the average new business to get somewhere; it will probably take Mr. Elio ten, since automotive has so many barriers to entry, and, once he gets all the money, hopefully he has a hot hand, since, like Nash-Kelvinator, he has exactly one chip at the big table.

    All the same, I would like to see this succeed, just because some success at this would give Elio some fuel for the next thing, which, if we look at Tesla, and how they’re just about to get somewhere with this CUV, the next thing is the thing.

  • avatar

    Time after time it has been proven that there is no mass market car life (unless you are a boutique builder like Pagani) outside the car makers. Even pretty deep pockets, a rolodex of investors and an exceptional ability to build up momentum in the public eye is no guarantee a new car company will make it. Elon Musk says that Tesla will not see profit until 2020. Two major things Elio has against it also: it is by no means a ground-breaking vehicle, not from a engineering standpoint nor design-wise. No powerful ally in the pocket either (like Tesla had in Panasonic). Low gas prices won’t help either.

  • avatar

    I think it is a market for such a vehicle. I like the Elio and would consider one if they existed. I don’t think Elio is a scam. But I think they will fail, because of a combination of incompetence and lack of financial muscles. I think someone like for example Yamaha, Polaris or Renault could make it happen.

    • 0 avatar

      I like to think there’s a market for this kind of car, too. But I fear that cheap gasoline will wound it, if not mortally, then at least severely.

      I wonder why they had to develop their own engine, though. I would like to think that *someone* out there already builds a suitable engine for this application. Of course, I’m not privy to their engineering needs, but it just seems that this could be something adapted from an existing supplier. If your target is to exceed a 15-20 year old Suzuki design, I would have to believe that one is available somewhere…

  • avatar

    I cannot believe that he raised $65m for this- at the same time, respect.

    its the onshore cost that is killing this. here is what doesn’t need $250m:

    -frame- china
    -body & assembly China- or Taiwan if upscale CF.
    -electrical harness etc. china.
    -regular parts- LKQ

    Build the whole thing in Thailand.

    I don’t understand why this is taking time and so much money?

    Look at the hundreds of chinese electric bike makers- just buy one of them and add a one more wheel.

    The whole story arc of this is just like the fraud that was with that Canadian car company- zenn motor company- then they started pushing this battery maker total fakers.

    This is the exact same thing- suspension of belief- THERE is no way that this costs $250m to build. There are whole super car companies that built more vehicles for a fraction less. Its called scale. the icon plane falls nicely into this gene of scams.

    • 0 avatar

      Finally a voice of reason.

      $250M investment is crack pipe territory for an ultra-niche oddity that is proposed to sell for $7k.

      Good luck to them but if I ever see five of these in the wild over the next ten years ill donate a paycheck to three charities of Elio’s choice.

    • 0 avatar

      Icon A5 costs $150k, not $7k. They only need to sell a 1000 of those.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m a fan of the Elio concept, but it’s just not clear why they’re not outsourcing manufacturing of both motor and chassis to proven manufacturers. They’re pursing a very capital-intensive strategy, when really they need to prove the concept in the market with as little up-front money as possible.

      And of course, if they fail because they didn’t capitalize their company appropriately, a million Internet keyboard jockeys will say it proves that light, cheap, small transportation devices will never sell. And America will be sentenced to another 20 years of Nissan Versas and bloated CUVs as basic transportation.

      • 0 avatar


        +1. I don’t understand that, either. Especially the engine; 3-cylinder engines can be obtained from many sources.

        • 0 avatar

          its because its a scam, he’s going to keep all the money.

          a real company would- pick 1 (outsource/JV/partner/buyout a small company) the whole thing, until they can get a foothold, a 3 wheel bike with a Vdub engine does not cost $250,000,000.00 and years to make.

          Look at all those hi school shop class kids making cool cars and stuff with 1 grownup, an old car box of tools and some afterschool time.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with you, even if they want to keep the “made in merica” patriotic bragging rights why cant they just buy off the shelf motor from PSI engines or ask mahle to build some peformance oriented stuff or hec, pull it of deere tractors sort to save on development cost.

      Why everything have to be so complicated with these guys.

      Heck, if all muscles no financial brain can build american choppers, it shouldn’t take steven hawking level of genius to add 1 more wheel

    • 0 avatar

      He may be a fraud. Or he may just be a dreamer with an idea who has layered on all types of requirements that are meaningful to him personally but that don’t make any business sense.

      I’m willing to bet on the latter. That being said, I’m astonished that he would have raised $65 million for this; if true, then I suspect that isn’t quite what it seems. (He may have commitments for that amount, but not yet hit the milestones needed to have been paid more than a fraction of that.)

    • 0 avatar

      I agree that this project doesn’t have to cost $250M, but the way it’s being ran could very well soak up that much.

      As others have pointed out, they really should have sought out a powertrain contract to get some of these things out on the road ASAP and get some real revenue flowing in. If they felt a proprietary engine was important, they could have worked on that for a later update. In this market, I’m not convinced that a proprietary engine is needed. Pick something on someone’s shelf that meets the goals, and get some of these sold. Without revenue, he’s going to have a really hard time raising much more money.

  • avatar

    Does nobody remember Aptera here?

  • avatar

    Not this sh1t again…

  • avatar

    Every time this Elio story runs, I post the same thing.
    Have they started cutting chips on the die cast tooling for the powertrain?
    ‘Cause if the answer is no, they really haven’t started yet.

  • avatar

    It’s peculiar how sites like this become fixated on losers.

    Articles and pages ground out every week on rubbish like Cadillac, Lincoln, Acura cars, Volvo.

    The same boring responses from commenters, because well, how many times can you say the same thing?

    Then there’s this bright spark Paul Elio who appears to have the same brand of fixation as train spotters in Blighty. The Anoraks, well known single fixation earnest types with conversation skills limited to only one topic. Unable to concentrate on anything but the blinkered path they have chosen to tread. Why do things the easy way?

    No, let’s design our own engine from scratch. Easy peasy. Let’s buy some old car plant to build the dream in, before we even have a prototype of the actual thing we plan to make. In fact, let’s be as unreasonably pie-in-the-sky dreamers as ever drew breath, because we’re so out-of-touch with reality, we can DO anything in our daydreams, plus write crap on our website to attract people of similar unworldliness and gosh, golly, gee temperament who will hand over a few hundred bucks each to fund the dream. Yup, it’s like religion, at least as practised on TV shows.

    Ronnie, hop off the cloud and ask this Elio character some tough questions. That engine testing malarkey is, dare I say it, horse manure. Give IVL the money and the engine would be working by next month. Then wonder about meeting emission laws and the cost of production machinery, making a viable organization.

    This Elio character couldn’t make a bucket of home-made ice-cream given a year, all the equipment, instructions and two hours of Grandma’s expert tutelage to help him. He’s a dreamer who attracts similar mouth-agape types who didn’t take Science from seventh grade on, but think Astrology is one.

    The whole escapade is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I don’t agree with you. I think you have lost the “plot” and really need to redirect your energy to other site rather than comment here on TTAC. It appears you are not happy with TTAC.

      Are your paradigms being corrupted by the journalism and comments on this site?

      Firstly, here is a guy coming up with an idea and innovative idea regarding how we live and transportation.

      I do hope he succeeds with his quest in manufacturing and designing this vehicle, even the engine.

      If he is successful how do you not know if his inspiration and innovation will not change the direction of how we see the automobile.

      He has already contributed to the transport industry and created jobs. Real jobs that didn’t exist and aren’t protected by unionised socialists.

      Imagine if he does succeed, what is the global market for a cheap form of independent point A to point B transportation. It could bring in billions into the US, even if some manufacturing is offshored to developing nations for their markets.

      Why does it have to be big business, along with big union and big government.

      Your comment is that of a Luddite and a non-progressive mindset.

      I can see why it is hard sometimes for a nation to advance and achieve when their are people like you on the planet.

      Here’s a site that’s right down your alley;

      Progressive in the title should be replaced with REGRESSIVE. I do suspect this group living off or other people “donations” (read government money, ie, tax dollars) will have blogs along with the UAW or the other group base in Qubecistan.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for telling it like it is. Elio is either an unrealistic dreamer with big ideas or he’s simply naive about the realities of starting such an enterprize. A less charitable way to say that is that he’s either stupid or he’s a sleazy snake oil salesman – which is just ordinary criminal behavior.

  • avatar

    I see two possible outcomes:

    a] The Elio never gets off the ground, or it does, but nobody buys it. End of story.

    b] It succeeds, let’s say at 25,000 units/year, and proves the market exists. Then any number of car and/or motorcycle manufacturers can jump into the game, using already existing resources (parts and sales channels) and out-Elio the Elio.

  • avatar

    As one of the over 38,405 people that have reserved an Elio, I make it a point to stay informed about everything I can that concerns the Elio. I noticed a few errors in the article as well as a few things that should have been said that were not…. For starters the comp-any developing the engine for the Elio is IAV. Second Elio has received an extension with regards to the space at the old GM plant. Elio has also contacted a company for a possible source of funding. The Engine is to be run for the first time publicly at IAV headquarters in a private event with both investors and the media present.

    To address the comments left by one person earlier, One of the goals of Elio motors is to use mostly American made [parts, …etc. In fact the goal is to be 90% American made parts or more. This is good for America and means more jobs in several sectors related to the Auto industry. The work force that will be hired (about 1,500) will come mostly from Shreveport workers that were employed at the same GM plant. Therefore they already are experienced at assembling cars. I could go on but I have hit the high points. Anyone wanting more accurate information should spend some time researching the Elio on the Elio motors web site.

    Note: the production line is to run as follows. The plant has two production lines. In the beginning only one production line is to run, but with a double crew, so as to get experience building the Elio for the crew members that will eventually run the second production line. The production goals are set in 45 day periods. The production is to be as follows…

    1st 45 days, one production line building 350 Elios a day.

    2nd 45 days, one production line building 500 Elios a day.

    3rd 45 days, two production lines building 350 Elios a day each. (700 Elio a day total)

    4th 45 days, two production lines building 500 Elios a day each. (1,000 Elio a day total)

    Elio motors anticipates building 250,000 Elios a year after the production line has been established and running smoothly.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      That is all well and good, but as someone else alluded to, if they want to meet a 2016 production date they should be well into tooling procurement today.

      FWIW much of the equipment in the Shreveport plant will only be worth scrap value. Too old, too specific to a particular vehicle model, or costs too much to relocate – take your pick, multiple choices are allowed.

    • 0 avatar

      If Elio wants to be all American, why get a German company to design your engine? Yes IAV is German. I personally don’t care, but when you (Paul Elio) make claims as such, how about sticking to it? No 1 American engine builder out there?

      Elio is a reimagined Messerschmitt. Nothing more.

      Paul Elio as far back as 2013 (when I went all in $1k) claimed he had the funding and all the investors he needed. Also claimed he needed $200m to get this production. Prior to this Paul claimed he could sell it for $5400.00, need $500m and could sell 500k a year. If he had said funding was questionable, I would not have made a deposit, that simple. I can handle Elio not making it to production, pretty much for any other reason, but not for lack of funding. He misrepresented himself and his ability to get funding. If he had said 3 years or more before production, I would not have put money down. At that point it would have been a wait and see when it comes out.

      If I lose the money, I lose the money. I knew after I made the deposit and Elio refused to acknowledge publicly how many people actually made deposits, there was a problem. I never bought their corporate response…now they acknowledge any deposit. I seriously doubt ANY of their numbers.

      It’s funny how they now looking into raising the capital. What happened to your investors from 2013?

      Paul Elio claims transparency is now important. In the name of transparency, I have some questions Mr. Elio:

      How many all in $1k non refundable deposits do you have?

      How much money was raised from investors?

      What happened to the investors and funding you claimed you had?

      How much did the engine development cost Elio?

      Do you have ANY of the 18-26 test mules built? (and waiting for engines).

      Does the final design of vehicle exist?

      Is the transmission(s) manufacture been finalized?

      • 0 avatar

        It amazes me that you keep posting all this negative stuff about the Elio, yet in every one of them you misquote or say something totally wrong. Without picking your statements a quick look at the lats line tells me that you have not bothered to do your homework before posting here. Anyone that wants to can easily find out that Elio announced that Aisin would be supplying the transmissions for the Elio. That has been common knowledge for months. And to be clear Elio does not say how many of the over 38,000 reservations is at the $1,000 level. However, a fb Elio group has a list of the reported reservation numbers for those at the $1,000 level. From it it is easy to see that the reported number of that level are now more than 11,000 and I have heard people say that there are numbers as high as the 15,000’s. I personally have not seen numbers that high, but they could be true.

  • avatar

    As for the Government Loan, it is not a grant or loan of money from the government. I’m told that it is a government back loan that Elio would then get through normal lending institutions (Banks, …etc.)

    Many of the comments I have read were made by people that clearly know little or nothing about the Elio, Elio motors, and the big picture. Anyone can post incorrect or Knee-Jerk reaction posts. I only ask that those that are willing to take the time to comment should at least be fair about the matter. At least spend a lot of time reading about the Elio and Elio motors on their web site before posting things that are just wrong.

  • avatar

    second thing is, a lot of these guys say they raised X but raised zip.

    this is a form D, you MUST file this when you sell equity/financing:

    total raised since 2011 is $400 grand.

    Which makes sense to me- (internet hype…. check)

    NOW they could have taken debt which they sometimes do not have to report- but not many lender/investors do 100% debt issuance’s, so verdict is out on that part-

    the kicker is in the last raise for $100k basically a directors & officers round- but they paid them selves $1.8m for commission for doing that and then another payment of $875k back to the same directors & officers. WHAAAA little short there….

    they should be doing this deal all day.

    please TTAC no more play for these dufuses.

  • avatar

    The engine developer is IAV in Northville MI not IVL.

  • avatar

    IAV parent company is German, hq in Germany. Like Ford in Germany, yeah they are there(design, engineer), but they are not a German company. An American company in Dearborn, Michigan.

  • avatar

    A few things bother me about Elio. Absurd business plan and financial statements aside.

    First, Back in the day, Toyota opened a plant in KY, USA, to build Corollas. They know how, 100%, to make these cars and have a bit of experience in tooling a plant. It took them two years to start production. When they moved their Lexis from IL to KY, another two years and $350 million. And for those two years, moving into an existing, operational, and staffed plant. Elio hasn’t even started tooling, yet 2016 is their quoted production date.

    And that brings me to the whole matter of Elio’s integrity. Why would someone quote 2016 when all evidence suggest it takes two years to tool a plant, and you are just now coming into one and by your own self-admission don’t yet have the money to do it? Then, why 2015 when you don’t even have a plant yet? Then, why 2014 when you don’t even know what your car will look like?

    As of today, they can’t even quote what kinds of options they will offer. Like, Automatic Transmission. They’re looking into it, but it will be Awesome and cheap for sure. Their web site can’t even list what they DO have spec’ed in the way of options. In short, they still don’t even HAVE a car to produce, yet they’re quoting a 2016 production and are willing to sell deposits based on that. Really? This has apparently been going on since 2006, or so.

    If they HAD a fully spec’ed design RIGHT NOW, and all the money they needed, and the logistical skills of someone like Toyota, it would still be at least 2017 before they could mass produce. They have none of the three, and are still quoting absolutely impossible production dates and taking money from people based on them.

    Sorry fans. They’re been selling a dream all along. They’re either frank lairs, or so vary utterly naive that you probably wouldn’t want to be in a vehicle made by them.

    Second, from a different POV. They started selling the dream back in 2006, or so. They use “off the shelf parts” to reduce costs, they say. Now, what off the shelf parts are still viable, now 10 years later? If you bought in back in 06, what car were you actually buying? If it takes another X years to actually get into production, what car are you actually buying today?

    That’s why we have “model years”. Parts come and go, off the shelf or not. Parts for the 2010 car are selected in 2008/9 and the plant tooled to use the new parts. To source the parts, you absolutely must know your production schedule with a very high degree of accuracy. Obviously, these guys have no schedule whatsoever.

    Suppliers need a minute to produce 100,000 body panels, for instance. They need to know when to produce ’em, and ship ’em. Not like you can run down to your local Walmart and pick ’em up.

    • 0 avatar

      If you are going to blast Elio Motors and make all kinds of statements, you should at least get your facts straight. To quote things that are clearly wrong does your credibility no good. FYI Paul Elio did not even begin to develop the Elio idea until 2008. And deposits did not begin to be accepted until a good while later. Your comments make it sound as if they have been stringing people along for a long time. Just not so.

      • 0 avatar

        Makoto. I stand uncorrected on the 2006 thing.

        “The project led to the creation of Elio Motors within ESG Engineering.” (ESG website, (c)2006)

        It appears the project was started prior to ’08 and, reference is made on a copyright 2006 web site. Only later, in 08, did they incorporate “Elio Motors” as an entity. So, accordingly, the
        operation did start in 2006 – or at some time prior.

        Not at all unusual, typically done when things are about to get “very risky”, in order to isolate liability from the parent company. That way they still have a place to go home to when it doesn’t work out

        Worse, ESG doesn’t seem to be a big player at anything, pretty much a no job too small sort of outfit (They actually say that). Of course, no job too big either. With “around 30 people”, that’s pretty much what’s known as a “side show” organization when it comes to playing in the “Big Leagues”.

        So I’d be uncomfortable with them, like, well, say, starting a motor company from scratch for me.

        Big players won’t even talk to you unless you have a few million/billion in the game somewhere. Considering the massive difficulties in starting a motor company, one might want a bit more of a successful history in leadership team.

        I suspect ESG is still at the heart of Elio. If that’s substantially true, I suspect private funding on the scale needed is going to be very, very, difficult to come by.

        BTW, how’s that for homework? We’re ok, now?

    • 0 avatar

      Here again you talk about things that show you have not done your homework. The statement about getting a supplier to produce the body panels for the Elio is not relevant to the Elio since they are going to use a composite material for the body panels and make them in house. The panels will be cut out of a roll of the material and then heat formed quickly in a heated mold. the same way Corvette body panels are made.

  • avatar

    I stand corrected on the 06 vs. 08 thing. There isn’t a great deal of non-marketing research material out there. In my review, I saw 06 a couple of times, and that lead me to sensing that as the starting point of the operation.

    That still doesn’t change the facts. They were announcing production dates, and collecting non-refundable money from people well before it was, even remotely, like to the limit of chance approaching zero probability, possible for them to do so.

    Yet, they very much did quote specific dates, many of them, and collected money, anyway.

    Even today, with what it takes to bootstrap a mass production, 2016 remains out of the question.

    Worse, they’ve added a new in-house custom engine build to the mix. Building a chassis is one thing, but engines are another entirely different kettle of fish. To mass produce a few hundred parts to absolute and consistent micron tolerances takes, well, a minute or two more than a body panel.

    If they had a fully tested, ready to go, engine right now – today, and they don’t, the engineering phase with their suppliers would take a “small army” and at least 3-6 months, for each individual part. There will also be engineering and tooling fees, and terms to contend with.

    You have to understand that suppliers are not sitting around waiting for you. You present a part’s spec’s along with an engineering fee. They produce a sample part. You validate and approve it. Then you work out production schedules, quantities, shipping, and payment terms. The supplier’s terms will not remain valid for more than a few months thereafter. Now, you have to do this for a few hundred/thousand parts. All targeting a “go date” that likely isn’t more than 6 months to a year out.

    To the extent you can use “off-the-shelf” parts, you can save the engineering cycle. But you still have to work out quantity, shipping, and payment terms. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, is going to just go and produce hundreds of thousand tires (for example) just ‘cus you might use them. Just to fulfil the 40K odd pre-orders, Goodyear will want to know those 120 thousand tires they’re making are going somewhere and they’re going to get paid for them.

    But, they don’t even have a unit they can spec out parts to suppliers yet.

    The key, right now, is they clearly do not have anything even close to a build plan that is anywhere, even remotely, near ready to source out to suppliers. Yet, 2016. Sure. Trust ’em. Send money now.

    • 0 avatar

      Reading your post it sounds like you trying to say that Elio suddenly decided to design an engine for the Elio. To be clear the original thought years ago was that the Elio would uses the Metro 3cylinder engine. After testing them they found out that the Metro engine did not reach the goals they had set for the Elio. So long ago it was decided to design and build an engine specifically designed to give the mpg and other goals they had. This is not a new development by any means.

      • 0 avatar

        Talk about not doing your homework. Paul did go to OE’s that were producing 3 cylinder engines, and asked for them to supply him. They laughed at him and the number of engines he wanted/expected. Look up all his interviews. Remember he wanted all the parts off the shelf, only after he realized an OE could not supply him with enough engines did he decide he had to make his own(pay someone to build one, certainly not an Elio design).

        February 6 came and went……………oh that’s right I got an email from Elio saying they cancelled engine unveiling because potential investors could not change their schedule to attend. RIGHT!! They blew up the engine, engine failed, they damaged the engine somehow, but NO WAY THEY CANCELLED because potential investors could not attend!! They knew for weeks.

        • 0 avatar

          Yea, Feb 6 is a really bad sign.

          There are engines that would work out there. The fact Elio couldn’t get them to produce them probably speaks more to his business plan than anything else.

          Many engines are “cross targeted”, people do buy them and use them in other things. They can be had, they just can’t be had if you’re not likely to be able to pay for them, or maintain the level of demand your asking for, or your asking for a level so small that it isn’t economic.

    • 0 avatar

      By the way, the Elio test engine is to be shown at a public event on Friday Feb 6th 2015. It is to be run for the public and the media.

      • 0 avatar

        Makoto. You surely don’t have much of an idea of how you get from a garage build to a mass produced item. Car, truck, van, motorcycle, or meatloaf.

        Having a garage build, engine or chassis, isn’t the race. It isn’t even the starting line for the race. Indeed, at that point, you’re still typing zip codes into your phone in an attempt to find the racetrack.

        When it comes mass production, at this scale, the starting line is with a FULLY INTEGRATED prototype. Not a mule. You have to be able to point at the beast, and be able to tell someone, with a great degree of confidence, go make me 100.000 “just like that one”. If you know how, that someone can surely be you too.

        It doesn’t matter at all why they decided to engineer a new motor. Go build an engine, fine. Any competent mechanical engineering firm should be able do a credible job at that. Making a couple, “by hand” will surely cost a couple of bucks, but is easy enough to do. Now go build 40K, or 100K, or 1MM of ’em. Entirely, completely, different problems. Making a handful of kewl motors go “vroom vroom”, and making tens of thousands of ’em are worlds apart in complexity. Orders of magnitude apart.

        Ok, onto body panels. So they’re going to buy a roll of stuff and make their own body panels. “Just like Corvette” Woo Hoo. What kind of stuff would that be, exactly? Oh, no, “Plastic stuff” is so NOT an answer. What composition of plastic? Ratio of components? Clear? Glass filled? Virgin, or recycled? How wide a roll? How thick, +/- how much? Bend strengh? Impact strengh, at zero degrees C, -20? Sag rate, in black, when stitting in the full tropical sun? UV resistance? Built in color, or not? Should it be primed for coating, or coated for pressing, or will Elio do that too? (If you say sure Elio, well then lets go off and have a similar laborious, nit picky, negotiation with a paint supplier somewhere) But back to “plastic stuff” Glossy, or matte? Then, Who can actually make the exact stuff your press needs, (oh, need to know melt temp and flow rates, at least) and can also meet your supply chain demand rate as well? What are the cost vs. commitment quantity price points. How big an order does Elio/can Elio want to commit, can commit? How much has to ship per week? How are you going to pay for it? Do you have a train spur, or do you need OTR rigs, or boats? (I know the plant has a spur, but does your potential suppler?). What happens when a roll is delivered 0.5mm too thick, or thin? What happens to the shipments when your production line faults for a day, or theirs? The list just goes on, and on, and on. All that just for just a simple roll of “plastic” stuff.

        Oh, btw, I’ll bet Corvette is not going to give them their engineering notes. You know, the ones about “their stuff”, or how to best make body panels using it. Nor are they going to allow their supplers to provide them either.

        Look, Elio is a great dream. But, they always are.

        It turns into a swindle when you knowingly take peoples’ money, and when you knowingly separate them from it using information that you know is wrong.

        2014 was never possible. 2015 was never possible. 2016 remains impossible. They have no defined product, no build plan, no supply chain, and haven’t even started to tool for production. Sorry if they got your money. Really am.

    • 0 avatar

      Mokoto. I stand uncorrected on the 2006 thing.

      “The project led to the creation of Elio Motors within ESG Engineering.” (ESG website, (c)2006)

      It appears the project was started prior to ’08 and, reference is made on a copyright 2006 web page. Only later, in 08, did they incorporate “Elio Motors” as an entitiy. So, accordingly, the
      operation did start in 2006 – or at some time prior.

      Not at all unusual, typically done when things are about to get “very risky”, in order to isolate liablilty from the parent company.

  • avatar

    Well if you want a good laugh, the excuses are here:

    read goofyone’s response on page 92

  • avatar

    Wow. Thanks for that Jgwag… Not even sure where to start on much of that. But, I think I’ll go with “impressive”…

    Quote, from said pg 92.. “The only goal EM has not been able to meet yet is the production deadline which is the end of this phase of the project. That goal is the hardest to predict, and indeed is the one frequently missed by automakers both start-up and established, because it is dependent on many things that are beyond EM’s control including things that can pop-up unexpectedly…”

    So many options here, so little time, but let’s have some fun with, in particular, this…

    “dependent on many things that are beyond EM’s control including things that can pop-up unexpectedly”

    Ever seen a pile of 120,000 new tires sitting out back of a plant somewhere, rotting in the sun? I haven’t, and pray I never do, but I imagine it’s pretty darn impressive. That’s kinda what happens when you mix “unexpectedly” or “beyond EM’s control” and “mass production” in the same sentence.

    In short, if you aren’t in control… You aren’t in the game.

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